make the general lesson practice more general

It seems to me that when I do "lesson practice" through the button on my home page, all the skills are tested (as they should), but only one at the time (or sometimes two at the time.)

IMO, it is becoming dull this way. I would much prefer complicated sentences which test many skills at the time (say "I will not become a butterfly until you are an elefant"), instead of seeing "io sono una farfalla" for the 20th time.

After all, if I want to practice a specific skill, I can do it on a specific skill's page.

While probably more difficult to implement to return meaningful data to the "data-driven" algorithms, I strongly believe it would be more efficient learning-wise (and much less dull.)

September 4, 2013


As far as I can see, you'll get some of the sentences with the word you need to practice. If you are not that far in your tree, the sentences are few. The further down you get, the more sentences use the word you need to practice, and they get more complicated. I get some new sentences every now and then, now they include words like This ot that which I recently "unlocked" even if those are not the words I get marked as practiced.

So yeah, it would be nice to have more sentences in the system for more variation, but you will get more complex ones later on.

September 4, 2013

It's good they get more varied as I go, but I'm afraid it might be they won't get any more complex, in the sense that each sentence will be still basically testing only one skill. To give an example, I'd prefer to have sentences like "My elephant, and not your monkey, will be drinking the water, unless your monkey comes and tells my elephant where to go" or whatever :-). My point is that all this vocabularly has been introduced, but all i ever get is along the lines of "the elephant drinks water", "my elephant drinks water", "your monkey comes", "I do it until i die", in other words sentences testing respectively Animals, Possessives, Animals, Conjunctions, etc. but never all of them at the same time.

September 4, 2013

The sentences get quite complex as you progress in the tree. Honestly, sometimes, I dread the really long sentences as a simple gender error on a simple part of the sentence results in a loss heart. I remember when the sentences were ridiculously simple. I don't think you have much farther to go in the tree before the complexity increases.

Indeed, there's been a few recent discussions where people were complaining about too much complexity deeper in the tree. People basically wanted to be able to do the early lessons without the newer material mixed in.

Indeed, your example sentence is similar to the stuff I get. Another way to look at it, is that you need the connection words and additional verb tenses before you can have complex sentences. Take a look at your tree, and look for infinitives and phrasal future tense.

You just don't have the grammar yet to make complex sentences. Don't worry... the complexity will come.

September 4, 2013

alright, i take your word for it; maybe i made a mistake by spending a bit too much time on the practice lessons instead of moving deeper in the tree quicker.

then again, you're not quite right to say there isn't sufficiently much grammar on my tree level to make more complex exercises.

September 4, 2013

I figured that it may be more helpful if I gave you a sneak peek at a higher level's prompts for "lesson practice". This way you can make your own conclusions.

Sorry, I'm learning Spanish and not Italian.

The first 20 sentences were a set that I failed on a few times, so I actually think the complexity reduced until I passed. This set has at least four different verb tenses.

The second set of 20 sentences was much easier for me, and I succeeded on my first attempt. At the end of this set, there are a few complex sentences, but overall it is using simpler verb tenses and constructions. Also, you may notice that there is an emphasis on occupations. I have most of the early lessons golden except for occupations.

The students have not eaten. He obtained my love. Él tiene el doble de libros que yo. Mi amigo ha comido en tu casa. Nosotros no lo vamos a reconocer a él. Mañana vas a pedir una nueva ruta. We are victims of the circumstances. You have been able to write two books. Ella tiene que entrar al edificio. El pintor Estas son circunstancias buenas. el amor Es un doble agente. Ella ha logrado caminar más rápido. Estas son circunstancias buenas. She has been able to eat. We will not recognize him. We are not going to recognize him. You have been able to write two books. Ella ha logrado comer.

El sombrero es de mi esposo. Él dijo que no va a continuar. She writes a letter. Nothing has happened. The party was a surprise. You write. The wife of my uncle is my aunt. La niña escribe una carta. They are artists. Nosotras vamos a venir en la noche. Los niños escriben las cartas. Mi tío ha caminado en esa calle. We are going to think about you. She is going to think that I do not love her. La gente va a venir. She is an artist like her mother. Los artistas leen. the surprise Esto ha ocurrido porque no lo hice. Ella va a pensar que no la quiero.

September 4, 2013

You're still in the first quarter of your tree, so even though you can make complex sentences, it could just be that Duolingo doesn't want to overwhelm beginners. There might be a lot of other people who would get too frustrated getting complex sentences so early. It will definitely get harder later.

September 4, 2013

I have mixed feelings frankly. Judging from Salxandra's examples (btw many thanks for the effort!) the sentences still are designed to test one or two skills. Let me put it this way - of the 3 sentences which pinkduckling wrote in her comment only the final one seems to be "of the duolingo type" (i.e. focused on one or two language difficulties). Whereas I would really love to have sentences like "There might be a lot of other people who would get too frustrated getting complex sentences so early".

It seems to me when I'm trying to translate such a sentence, a novel type of mental activity is happening in my brain, when compared to for example "You have been able to write two books." Although I don't know "have been" in italian yet, basically i feel very at home with this sentence, which I can't say about the sentence "There might be...". I have to cut it into manageable pieces, translate them, and glue them back together. It seems to me duolingo doesn't teach this at all (i.e. so far on my tree level, but also judging from Salxandra's examples.)

Of course one could argue, that this "cut, translate, and glue back" process is straightforward compared to translating the manageable pieces, and I wouldn't have anything to answer other than "in my personal view it doesn't seem so".

September 4, 2013

Honestly, Graboluk, you've given me a puzzle that I'm trying to figure out. So, thank you for making me cogitate.

I think I've helped answer your question, but I'm still wondering a tad about the algorithm that Duolingo is using to come up with these 20 questions. ... which I'm finding quite fascinating.

However, I think I finally understand what you mean by 1 or 2 concepts per sentence. And, I would agree most of the sentences are 2 or 3 concepts, but that occurs because they are simple sentences. I think Duolingo is intentionally keeping the complex sentences down to say 25% or less. Also, when you look across one set of 20 questions, there appears to be quite a bit of concepts being tested while simultaneously including a lot of repetition.

But, let's look at one of the complex sentences. Esto ha ocurrido porque no lo hice. (My hopefully correct English translation is ... This has happened because I did not do it.)

Concepts tested in this complex sentence with 2 clauses include:

gender agreement for "esto" conjugation of "has" "occurido" "hice" Each of these is a different tense/type. proper grammar for negation "no lo hice"
proper gender agreement for a direct object. "lo"

So, this sentence has six concepts.

I agree with pinkduckling if there was more complexity in the practice lessons, I think it would be overwhelming. And, truthfully, once you understand the concepts, you just string them together to create complex sentences.

Also, I think Duolingo may intentionally build complex sentences during the lesson practice by the simple sentences being the building blocks for the complex sentences given in the same lesson. This could make the lessons feel simpler than they actually are.

But, I think you're asking for more complex practice, and that may just not happen because I think, essentially, that's what the Immersion section is for.

September 4, 2013
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